Irish Examiner libel payout to greyhound racing tycoon

The Irish Examiner has paid out £50,000 in libel damages to a businessman over allegations about his chairmanship of the Irish Greyhound Board.

The paper also issued an apology and retraction as part of the settlement, announced in the high court in Belfast.

Paschal Taggart, who chaired the board – Bord na gCon – from 2000 to 2006, had sued in both Belfast and Dublin, which allowed him to take advantage of whichever high court had the earlier available hearing date.

He was able to do so because although he was originally from County Antrim, he had spent most of his professional life in Dublin, and thus had a reputation on both sides of the border.

The newspaper’s counsel, Brian Fee QC, said in a statement read in court: “The Irish Examiner unreservedly withdraws any allegations or inferences which may have questioned the plaintiff’s professional integrity and his invaluable contribution to Bord na gCon and to greyhound racing in Ireland.

“The Irish Examiner apologises to Mr Taggart for the distress and embarrassment caused to him.”

Outside the court, Taggart’s solicitor, Paul Tweed, said the settlement involved damages of £50,000, which vindicated both his client’s reputation and the decision to issue proceedings in the High Courts of both Irish jurisdictions.

He added: “My client had at all times during his chairmanship sought to act in the best interests of Bord na gCon and was determined from the outset that the Irish Examiner should retract what were outrageous and totally unjustified allegations that should never have been published in the first place.”

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